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ACC Approves Implementing In-Helmet Communication Devices



Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi.

The ACC has approved the implementation of two new technology initiatives, including coach-to-player in-helmet communication devices, for the 2024 season.

The ACC held its annual winter meetings in Charlotte, N.C. throughout the week, and as the league’s senior administrators met, the biggest takeaway from the three-day conference was the implementation of players being able to use in-helmet communication devices during games — allowing instant one-way communication between players on the field and coaches on the sideline.

While the ACC approved the measure, the NCAA’s football rules committee will also need to add its stamp of approval later this month.

In addition to direct coach-to-player communication devices, the ACC also approved the use of in-game video to allow for greater in-game adjustments. So, basically, it’s the use of tablets on the sideline.

Pat Narduzzi has long been an advocate for in-helmet communication, which has been utilized in the NFL for decades now, and it was brought up amid the Michigan sign-stealing scandal last fall.

“I think it would eliminate some of the signal stealing that we’ve had throughout the country,” Narduzzi said last November. “It’s been a hot topic, that no one can see what you’re saying unless they start reading lips but that’s why everybody is going to go like this and they can’t read my lips, either. But there’s a lot of that going on. It’s not just in one place. There’s a lot of it going on, and it’s been going on for years, so I think it would be great. They’ve got to find a way to use it.”

The NCAA allowed in-helmet communication devices to be utilized in non-Playoff bowl games last season, as a sort of trial run, and while Pitt obviously wasn’t able to take part, but Narduzzi talked about the potential of its use back in November.

If he had one concern about the use of the headset technology, though, it was the tempo at which offenses would be able to operate. But he had a potential solution.

“I think a way to correct all (the controversy) is let the quarterback have a mic, let the Mike linebacker have a mic, you’ve got a 40-second clock, you can’t snap the ball until 10 seconds or 15 seconds come off the clock,” Narduzzi said. “It eliminates the fast tempo, and again, the Mike linebacker can get in the huddle and tell everybody what’s going on. Now we know there’s no stealing anything, and you can have real football the way it should be played. To me, if they did that, you can’t snap the ball until 25 seconds or whatever it is, I think that would be a great way of doing it.”

When it comes to the defensive side of the football, Narduzzi would like to be able to have one guy, as is the case in the NFL, with the ability to use a mic and communicate calls with the other 10 defenders on the field.

“That’s, to me, the only way it would really work in college football because you can’t have five or six microphones — you can’t have something in everybody’s helmet,” Narduzzi said. “I just think that’s chaos. It would be nice if everybody could hear the call. That would be great on defense. If 11 guys have to have 22 or 30 guys on offense and defense, that’s a lot of mics, and I just don’t think — and someone’s mic is going to go out, and ‘I didn’t get the call, time out.’ But hey, huddle up. You’ve got 15 seconds to huddle, get your call in, make it fair, and then play ball.”

The ACC has approved the use of the technology initiative, and pending NCAA approval, it appears that Pitt will benefit in 2024. It certainly won’t hurt Bell’s new up-tempo offensive scheme that is being installed this spring.

The technology initiative, which was approved by every ACC head coach, will be permissive and at each member school’s discretion.

According to the press release, significant discussions and updates about the future of college athletics, legislation and legal topics were brought up in individual and joint meetings, and dialogue with Disney, ESPN and the ACC Network took place regarding business, finance and revenue generation and the College Football Playoff.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Toledo Window Box
Toledo Window Box
3 months ago

Will be interesting to see if perennial powerhouse teams like Michigan start to fall back to the pack now that this form of cheating is prevented. Of course bags of cash will probably keep the scales tipped but this is a good start.

3 months ago

Hey Pat Narduzzi! Get on the phone and inquire about Hines Ward’s interest in becoming the next Wide Receivers Coach for Pitt. Do it….!

3 months ago

If not Hines think about Perry Parks from Coastal Carolina for WR Coach.

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